November 23, 2009

Bishop bars Kennedy from Communion over abortion

Posted: 08:27 AM ET

Rhode Island's top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.

In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."

Kennedy, a Democrat, is the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and a scion of the most prominent Catholic family in modern U.S. politics.

In an interview published Sunday, Patrick Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Tobin had barred him from receiving communion and instructed priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament "because of the positions that I've taken as a public official."

Tobin, in a statement issued in response to the Kennedy interview, said his advice to the congressman was "pastoral and confidential," and he was surprised that Kennedy chose to discuss it publicly. "I am disappointed that the congressman would make public my request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being," he said.

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Filed under: Kennedy • Religion

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Ted   November 23rd, 2009 10:15 am ET

This bishop illustrate the backward stance of the RK church, as all in their history, they try to control the private life of their members. We have a right to voice our opinion withour fear of prosecution and no religion can take this away from us!!
Mr. Kennedy would do right if he openly denounce this bishop and declare that he will leave the church if they do not stop intervening in his job as a congressman.
There are other christian churches who pray to God just as the RK does. Shame on this bishop with the brain that did not learn anything during the past fifty years.

Ted   November 23rd, 2009 10:45 am ET

This is blackmail, as the bishop tries to influance the future work of congressman Kennedy, therefore it would be proper for the Attorney General of RI to take action against bishop Tobin.

joanne   November 23rd, 2009 11:13 am ET

he can go to many other churches for Communion...we understand the teachings of the church but we do not tell our neighbors what to do,,where are the birth control clinics ? abstinence? the Catholic church as not been perfect in other areas ..period ...

Demond   November 23rd, 2009 12:54 pm ET

Lets see how many Catholic Priest have been outed for sexual child abuse in the last 5 years? The

Dodie   November 23rd, 2009 2:04 pm ET

This is an excellent example of “the Church” meddling around in politics, where it does NOT belong, instead of spending the energy on taking care of their own people!

Patrick Kennedy’s support of abortion is due to his role as “Congressman”. He is granting the wishes of the people who voted him into office, not his own personal views. This situation certainly validates my feelings regarding religion, especially the "church"! Talk about Hypocrisy!

Silence, degradation, repression, and humiliation are used by the Church knowingly to conceal the truth from society so that people do not see the abuse or truth. This abuse is perpetuated; generation after generation only ending when society is forced to see the abuse in such a way there can be no denial, no excuses, and no rationalization! A good example of this is when Priests’ molest and rape altar boys.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops should start adopting all the children who do not have homes or families if they oppose abortion. They are always stuck in the problem and NEVER in the solution!

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin is a true hypocrite and I hope he chokes on his Communion wafer or bottle of wine!

@ Ted

Amen to what you said!!!

JBM   November 23rd, 2009 2:10 pm ET

Some might say he is representing the people he elected and their wishes. Others might say he feels the church alone cannot re-elect him, thus he is doing what most, if not every, politician does and that would simply be going where the votes are. Most people would feel their faith comes first. So it appears the hypocrisy is everywhere.

A. Smith, Oregon   November 23rd, 2009 3:17 pm ET

A glaring example of why the Catholic Churches with their millions of tax free acres of property, should have their tax exemption status removed.

Direct politicization is a direct violation of the Catholic Churches tax exemption status and the US Supreme Court should seriously review the tax-exemption status on all religious institutions which have clearly crossed the line into using direct politicization to influence America's political outcomes.

schwarzgold   November 23rd, 2009 4:01 pm ET

Although I don't believe in abortion, I'm thankful for the opportunity express my right as a non-supporter. I also might add that I am just one individual and I can't speak for someone else's right to choose such as a woman's right to choose.

I just pray that if a woman is faced to make a decision she will choose to keep her Baby or set the newborn up for adoption. I don't think abortions will increase as it exists today.

In China, there were 13 million abortions last year, Yet I don't see the Bishop or anyone else boycotting the "Made in China" material they wear, eat on, sleep on, and decorate their home.

I think the Bishop basically said, you go to hell. Salvation is not decided by a wafer.

ckelly   November 23rd, 2009 6:25 pm ET

If you call your self a practicing Catholic-don't support abortion as a legislator, while calling yourself a Catholic. If this doesn't work for you, you are free to leave at anytime. Abortion goes against just about every belief a Roman Catholic holds-I am not a practicing Catholic but I have respect for the church's position on abortion and Kennedy is exploiting the situation publically, in order to get his way in the Bill.

JBM   November 23rd, 2009 9:06 pm ET

@ckelly-well said.

eJay   November 23rd, 2009 9:50 pm ET

Once Bishops start judging people that come into their Church,they will soon find the Church empty.

ann   November 23rd, 2009 10:40 pm ET

how can the church Bishop tell the young Kenddy not to take communion, the church let his father have the last rites of church as divorce man, what is the difference?

Lisa   November 24th, 2009 1:06 am ET


frances   November 24th, 2009 1:13 am ET

Bishop Tobin will find himself in some "hot water"..Luciano Pavarotti was divorced had a baby out of wed lock, remarried & lost his life, he was given a Catholic burial in Italy !,,that pleased me, why shouldn't he ? may he rest in peace..I still see hm singing on you tube..he was a "wonder"...

Ted   November 24th, 2009 12:16 pm ET


you are faithful to your catholic upbringing and nobody can blame you for that! Your reasoning sounds like a ultimatum, either you believe and do what we dictate or you can go! It is good you did not say that you will be shot, (or burned at the stake for heresy, as done for centuries by the RC church)!

Our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and a woman should have the right to decide the faith of her unborn child.
Abortion is done since there are human beings, however this very simple surgery caused the death of millions of women over the years, because it was done by quacks!
I find it just proper that in our free society a woman can go to a proper medical facility and have a safe abortion done. No church or goverment should have the right to dictate this one way or another, it is her child and her decision.

It is also my opinion that this should be paid by the woman herself, not a medical insurance, unless the conception was through rape or the life of the mother is in danger.

A. Smith, Oregon   November 24th, 2009 2:09 pm ET

The Roman Catholic Church has a long standing Papal Bull dictating the complete and total excommunication of any and all Free Masons.

Many of the American Founding Fathers were Free Masons and many past and present Presidents also were/are Free Masons.

The Ancient and Accepted Free Masons certainly believe in the Creator, they did not however adhere nor follow the dictates of the Pope which they made very clear in the separation of the Church and State.

The Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations continue to spin the American Founding Fathers as their direct supporters, that is BS and sheer unadulterated propaganda.

ckelly   November 25th, 2009 6:11 am ET

I think its sad that people are not free to have an opinion on the LKL blogs-Please don't "follow me around" on the blogs that pertain to religious interest. You have your opinions and I have mine-there is no ultimatum-please leave me alone or ignore what I write because clearly we see differently.

Ted   November 26th, 2009 10:30 am ET


your are wrong, everybody is free to write his or her opinion, if it is done in an acceptable manner. However, if you right opinions that are not accepted by many, then you should not feel persecuted if they oppose your writing and correct you.

If you have good manners than you do not call others liers just because they have other opinions or are better educated in or read on the subject being discussed.

Ted   November 26th, 2009 10:32 am ET


if you cannot take the heat do not play with the fire! If you do not write a comment you will not the corrected.

ckelly   November 26th, 2009 11:45 am ET

Moderators please stop this. This blogger is antagonistic and is following me around-its out of line. Please stop it!

Ted   November 26th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

The catholic church is the last source that can give advice on a moral issues!

I just watched the newsreport on the investigation of the catholic church in Ireland, where priest misused children for decades!!
The bishops and the cardinal of Dublin covered this up for many years, doing everything to hinder the investigation and ensuring that those priest could continue to do their discusting work on those children.
However, the investigation was finally finished and one priest admitted of misusing over 300 children over the years!!!
Today Cardinal Martin of Dublin asked for forgiveness!! He should be put to jail for rest of his life.

What about those ugly priests, will they go to jail or will they be transfered to another parish where they can continue to misuse innocent children.

About 12-15 years ago an italian priest, who worked many years at the Vatican, has left the church, because could not stomach the filty life there anymore and wrote a book that became a bestseller!
According to him there were homosexual orgies on a daily base, old bishops and cardinals misusing young priests who either had to submit to their wishes or were transferred to a parish in Timbuktu!!
If you look around in the internet you may find that book, sorry I do not have the title.

This is the church that preaches moral values, is against homosexuality, although well over 50% of the priest and bishops are either themselves homosexual or practice the trade just for fun.
This is the church that preaches peace and moral values, but the Bank of Vatican were handling hundreds of millions of Mafia money. When the pope John Paul I found out about this dirty deal, he was poisoned after less than a year in office. He just happened to be an honest person and wanted to stop it!

Do not believe what they say, but watch what they do.

Ted   November 26th, 2009 3:04 pm ET


what do you say to above news, it just came out a few hours ago. A church is not what is written in the books, but what they practice.
This is nothing new, you must remember the priests in Boston?

What you may not know, the Cardinal of Vienna, the highers dignitary in Austria had to step down last year, because he misused choreboys for years.
Do you think all those priests should go to jail just like any other dirty human?

Dodie   November 27th, 2009 12:04 am ET

So let me get this straight! If you are a practicing Catholic, then you can NOT work in any profession that might go against the Church???

So the list might include: All politicians, Wall Street, AIG, Banks and other large corporations because they might want something that is against the Catholic church….

Oh yes, lets not forget All teachers, professors as you might have to lecture on science and Darwin instead of Adam & Eve… Medical Doctors, Psychologists, Psychiatrist and just plain Therapists. After all, as a medical doctor and a Psychologist, Clinician or Psychiatrist, you need to honor your patient’s desires or are you going to “DUMP” YOUR religious beliefs on them???

I can see, if you are a “good catholic” You do not have very many professional jobs to choose from!!!!! Maybe you could be a child molester! That seems to work well for many!!!

Dodie   November 27th, 2009 12:09 am ET

@ Ckelly

You are the "clinicial person" The psychotherapist for 20 years! The person who knows everything. You know how to stop this...

Just do NOT ANSWER the other person.

If I remember correctly, you insulted him 4 or 5 days ago.

Dodie   November 27th, 2009 3:12 pm ET

@ A. Smith and Ted

You both are going to love this! I just heard that CNN will be doing a story on the molesting of children for decades by the Catholic church in "Ireland"

Talk about synchronicity!

Thank you CNN for making even more public, the horrendous atrocities to children in the name of religion!!!

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